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US: Who Gives the Most Money

Financial corporations and law firms dominate Career Patrons list

by Alex KnottCenter for Public Integrity
February 13th, 2004

WASHINGTON - Investment companies dominated President George W. Bush's $47 million fourth quarter fundraising, driven by networks of top individual contributors, according to a recent supplement to "The Buying of the President 2004," a book by the Center for Public Integrity detailing the financial interests behind each presidential candidate.

Trial lawyers led the way for the Democrats running for president.

All of Bush's ten largest donors for the period are linked to bundlers who have pledged to donate from $100,000 to $250,000 as part of the president's Pioneer and Ranger Programs.

Seven of the ten are financial services companies.

The largest donors for the quarter were Pricewaterhouse Coopers ($122,750), MBNA Corp. ($93,750), Deloitte & Touche LLP ($73,525), Southern Co. ($67,147), and Goldman Sachs Group ($65,750).

Rounding out the list were Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. ($58,904), United Services Automobile Association Group ($57,775), Rooney Holdings/Rooney Brothers ($56,000), and UBS AG Inc. ($54,850).

Among the most significant movers was credit card giant MBNA Corp., which jumped into second place on Bush's list of
career patrons
, trailing Enron Corp. by just $6,000.

At least 40 individuals from the Delaware-based company donated the maximum $2,000 amount during the last three months of 2003. Bush's fundraising strategy of having individuals raise large sums ("bundling") may have played a role at MBNA, which is headed by former CEO Charles M. Cawley and Executive Vice Chair Lance Loring Weaver. Cawley and Weaver are both Bush "Rangers," fundraisers who pledge to raise $250,000 for the president.

In addition to being among Bush's top donors, the seven financial services companies all lobbied on bills and issues that were being considered by the president. Some issues listed on these companies' lobbying forms included the dividend tax cut, bankruptcy reform and even the PATRIOT ACT, according to disclosures from the Senate Office of Public Records. Other legislative issues affecting these companies include the president's proposal to privatize Social Security and auditing regulations following the Enron scandal.

Overall, the Bush campaign raised just over $131 million in 2003 and had $99 million in the bank at the end of last year, according to reports filed with the FEC last week. So far, the president has raised almost $30 million more than all the democratic candidates combined. The president raised amounts at a rate of $577,000 a day. In contrast, former Vermont
Governor Howard Dean raised $67,000 a day, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., brought in $64,000 a day and Sen. John Edwards
, D-NC, averaged $45,000 a day.

With some of his largest donations for the quarter coming from Microsoft ($20,313), IBM ($14,387) and Compaq ($8,247), Dean showed he does not only raise money on the Internet but from Internet-related companies.

The top career patron to Dean's campaign continues to be Time Warner ($73,000) and University of California ($45,000). Dean, whose drop in the polls and fundraising took place after his disclosures, also received large contributions from financial services contributors like Citigroup ($10,280), Morgan Stanley Dean Witter ($8,796) and UBS AG ($8,781) late in 2003.

Kerry's largest donor in the quarter was the personal-injury law firm of Heard, Robins, Cloud, Lubel & Greenwood LLP ($28,000). In fact, law firms made up half of Kerry's top ten career patrons, including his top donor Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, which employ's Kerry's brother and has donated $232,736. Other firms include Hale and Dorr LLP ($129,858) and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom ($125,550).

Trial lawyers accounted for six of the largest 10 donors to Sen. Edwards for the quarter and make up eight of his top 10 career patrons. The other two are Steven Bing ($907,000) and Goldman Sachs Group ($174,350). Interestingly, Edwards' second largest donor during the second quarter was his own campaign workers, who donated more than $11,000.

Kerry's Fundraising Shows Large Corporate Donations
Excerpt of The Buying of The President 2004 details Kerry's contribution record

John Kerry has made campaign finance reform an issue ever since he first ran for the Senate in 1984. In fact, the Massachusetts Democrat has been such an ardent and outspoken critic of political action committees that he has refused to accept donations from such organizations during all four of his senatorial campaigns.

But the man who has repeatedly decried the influence of PACs on the nation's political system nevertheless began his quest for the presidency by forming one. In December 2001, as a prelude to his presidential run, Kerry created a federal PAC and a non-federal 527 Committee, both named the Citizen Soldier Fund. A number of influential members of Congress, including most of the presidential candidates, have such PACs, commonly known as "leadership committees." Politicians use the leadership committees to win political support by distributing money among various party organizations and candidates across the country. They also use PAC resources to foot travel bills.

Kerry's PAC raised roughly $1 million through the end of 2002 and disbursed nearly all of it. At the time it was formed, the Citizen Soldiers Fund's non-federal account could theoretically have accepted any amount from a donor. But Kerry, perhaps as a concession to the reform constituency of which he was a part, said the fund would not take donations of more than $10,000 from one individual or organization in any year. Just before the McCain-Feingold legislation was to take effect consigning soft money-at least some types of it-to history, the senator couldn't resist one last grab at the political money that he voted to ban. By the end of October, the self-imposed cap was gone.

Before Kerry closed the account some time before the end of 2002, the Citizen Soldier Fund raised approximately $1.35 million in soft money, thanks mainly to a series of big checks written by some of his long-time patrons. The largest donor to the Fund was Miami lawyer Milton Ferrell, who gave $59,000. Other big givers included the CEO of Boston Capital, John P. Manning, who contributed $55,000, International Data Group chairman Patrick J. McGovern ($50,000) and the American International Group, Inc. ($30,000). The committee spent nearly $1.3 million, which was virtually everything that it raised. Though its stated aim was to help the Democrats across the country, two-thirds of the soft money contributed to the Citizen Soldier Fund was channeled to its federal account and to candidates in a handful of states, among them Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Records show that the non-federal committee distributed close to $147,000 in Iowa, more than $120,000 in New Hampshire and $58,000 in South Carolina. It spent $89,000 in Florida, the state that decided the last presidential election. In addition, Kerry's committee made big contributions to a pair of Senate colleagues who were facing tough re-election campaigns: $181,000 went to Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who won his race, and more than $81,000 Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, who lost.

The purpose of Kerry's playing "Good Samaritan" was purely political. It's no coincidence that he doled out a quarter of the money raised through the soft money account in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the early primary and caucus states that can make or break a presidential campaign. Understandably, he needed allies there, and the senator -like some of his presidential opponents -was using the PAC money to help build support for the campaign. Nonetheless, Kerry's distribution of campaign cash across the country is seemingly at odds with his oft-stated position on campaign finance reform, which early on graced his Web site: "Elections must be more than auctions, and money must no longer drown out the role of citizens in our democracy."

Kerry maintained that he hasn't changed his long-held view on the pernicious influence of PAC money, arguing that the Citizen Soldier Fund was necessary for the sake of a Democratic majority. "I've come to acknowledge the unpleasant and unfortunate truth that campaign finance and other critical political reforms will remain stymied in Congress until Democrats obtain real working majorities in Washington and in state legislatures across the nation," he said. "It's become necessary, I believe, for every leader of this party to employ all legal and appropriate means to assist Democratic candidacies at all political levels."

In other words, the dark cloud of special interest money that hangs over the political process won't be lifted until it elects politicians like Kerry to majority status in every legislature in the country, all the while being granted the favors it seeks.
Top Quarter Patrons

Rank Organization    Total   Pioneers        Rangers
1        Pricewaterhouse Coopers $122,750                Partner Richard R. Kilgus
2      MBNA Corp.      $93,750         CEO Charles M. Cawley and Senior Executive Vice Chair Lance Loring Weaver
3      Deloitte & Touche LLP   $73,525 Partner Paul Maynard     
4      Southern Co.    $67,147         Executive Vice President Dwight H. Evans
5       Goldman Sachs Group     $65,750 CEO Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Managing Partner George H. Walker IV       Limited Partner Peter R. Coneway
6       Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.        $58,904         CEO E. Stanley O'Neal
7  United Services Automobile Association Group    $57,775 CEO Robert G. Davis      
8      Rooney Holdings/Rooney Brothers $56,000 Chair Frances Rooney     
9      UBS AG Inc      $54,850         UBS Wealth Management USA CEO Joseph J. Grano
10 Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.        $44,250         Managing Director William H. Strong

Top Quarter Patrons list is based on contributions to Bush-Cheney '04 Inc. and Bush-Cheney '04 Compliance Committee Inc. through Dec. 31, 2003. The Pioneers and Rangers listed are based on names published by Texans for Public Justice.



Top Career Patrons

George Bush

Organization    Total
Pricewaterhouse Coopers    $607,498
MBNA Corp.      $606,291
Enron Corp.     $602,875
Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.        $597,504
UBS AG Inc      $508,750
Credit Suisse First Boston      $508,650
Vinson & Elkins $489,400
Goldman Sachs Group     $436,199
Ernst & Young LLP       $435,204
Bass Brothers Enterprises       $397,427

Dick Cheney:

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.        $49,500
National Association of Realtors $38,430
American Medical Association     $31,750
National Republican Congressional Committee      $25,593
FMC Corp.        $23,800
Association of Trial Lawyers of America  $19,250
JP Morgan Chase & Co     $18,500
Goldman Sachs Group      $16,500
Westar Energy    $15,750
National PAC     $15,000

John Kerry

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo   $243,346
FleetBoston Financial Corp.     $195,637
Time Warner     $169,660
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom    $153,875
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi $145,200
Hale and Dorr LLP       $142,308
Harvard University      $140,600
Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson & Hand/Piper Rudnick      $136,350
Citigroup       $129,656
Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos Inc.        $122,550




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